Monday, August 31, 2009
Chew On This
One of my favorite movies is 1998's "Dangerous Liaisons", adapted from the 18th century novel by Choderlos de Laclos and starring Glenn Close, John Malkovich, and Michelle Pfeiffer. (I never saw "Valmont" which came out the same year, but I'm pretty sure it'd be like comparing Charlize Theron to a horse's ass.)
Considering the many games of seduction, deceit, betrayal, and revenge we play, I thought the movie could easily have featured any of us, in any or all roles: schemer, victim, innocent bystander.
There are many gems in "Liaisons", but the exchange which struck me the most was the one between Madame de Rosemonde - Valmont's doting but wise aunt - and the love-pained Madame de Tourvel:
Madame de Rosemonde: I'm sorry to say this, but, those who are most worthy of love are never made happy by it.
Madame Marie de Tourvel: But, why? Why should that be?
Madame de Rosemonde: Do you still think men love the way we do? No... men enjoy the happiness they feel. We can only enjoy the happiness we give. They are not capable of devoting themselves exclusively to one person. So to hope to be made happy by love is a certain cause of grief.
The ring of truth in that exchange resonates with me to this day. I chant it to myself as a shaman might recite his prayers whenever I find myself caught in the web of that four-letter word.
Love doth conquer all, and 'tis a victor that takes no prisoners.
Something to chew on at the start of the week.